Parent the way your child needs.
Parenting is probably one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs in the world.
You want to know how to be a good parent and become the best parent you can be for your child. But no parent is perfect. And knowing how different types of parenting styles affect child development can help you raise them into successful adults.
The Enneagram of Personality is a psychological and spiritual tool to help you become the healthiest parent you can be. Not only that, no matter what Enneagram type your child is, guessing your child’s Enneagram type can give you some clues as to how to parent them better.
You can only guess what type your child is, but it is crucial that you create space for your child to discover who they are. If you start treating them as a particular personality type, you will force this identity on them — even though it may not be true.
Labeling can seriously hurt your child’s development. Before guessing your child’s Enneagram personality type, you need to be clear about your own.
As you start seeing certain behaviors in your child, you will get a better sense of the type they may be. In the end, the most important goal for you is to get to know your child better.
Here's how to be a good parent and better connect with your child by choosing the best parenting styles to meet on your kid's needs, based on his or her Enneagram personality type.
1. Type 3: The Achiever
Your Type 3 child is energetic. They enjoy taking charge of the environment in which they live and always keep themselves busy.
Your child has high expectations of themselves. They not only need to achieve, but they also need others to see and show appreciation for their hard work. Furthermore, they are always pushing themselves to be better.
How might you parent a Type 3?
- Praise your child when it is warranted.
- Encourage your child to slow down and do something that is not competitive.
- Let your child know your unconditional love for them.
- Help to create a learning environment that encourages learning through trial and error.
2. Type 7: The Enthusiast
Types 7 kids love to experiment and play. They are curious and full of energy but also get bored quickly.
Your child will never stay upset long. It won't take long for them to get involved in something new and exciting to take their attention away from their pain. It's also not uncommon for them to feel overly responsible for making sure everyone else has a good time.
How might you parent a Type 7?
- Join your child on a fun adventure. They will love you for it.
- Help your child to deal with boredom constructively. Provide your child with some quiet activities that slow them down.
- Spend time with your child to help them process the hurt, pain, and disappointments in life. Let them know it is okay to cry.
- Teach them to finish what they started. You could give your child some incentive to complete his or her project with a special treat.
3. Type 8: The Challenger
Your Type 8 child will have endless amounts of energy. They speak whatever they think but have a hard time whenever someone tries to block them.
At times your child will seem loud, rude, and aggressive. They often try to help out the underdog and you'll get glimpses of their big heart.
How might you parent a Type 8?
- Let your child know that you love them no matter what happens in life.
- Mentor your child to find constructive ways to deal with their anger. Let them know there is nothing wrong with anger. Anger is useful when used constructively.
- Acknowledge their love for the underdog even if you are not able to help in the way your child desired you to help.
- Set clear safety boundaries for your child and give reasons for them.
1. Type 4: The Individualist
Your child has a creative flair. Maybe they like to colo, dress up in costumes, or love to dance? You want them to know that they are valued members of the family.
At times, they may be moody. They are not afraid to cry and may seem highly emotional to you. The truth is that your child is trying to figure where they fit in your family and the world.
How might you parent a Type 4?
- Nurture their creativity.
- Allow them to express themselves, emotionally.
- Help them to know that they are a vital member of your family.
- Help them to process emotions especially when they get stuck, in a negative feeling, through their creativity.
2. Type 5: The Investigator
Your Type 5 child tends to be reserved and quiet. They love to learn, always have a book going, and may spend too much of their time in their imaginary world.
Your child is a great observer so they will notice when you are happy, sad, or angry.
How might you parent a Type 5?
- Encourage them in their desire to learn.
- Let them know that their thoughts and questions are important.
- Watch for signs that your child spends too much time in their imaginary world. The best way to get them out of their imaginary world is by engaging with them in fun, games, and learning.
- Ask them to share with you what they find interesting. Your child will talk to you for hours.
3. Type 9: The Peacemaker
Your Type 9 child tends to be quiet but they can tell what your emotional state is. It is easy for them to get overly enmeshed to you.
They also feel that it is their responsibility to make everything okay in the family, which can be a great burden to them. So, they will try to help resolve conflict when it arises.
How might you parent a Type 9?
- Let them know how valuable they are. Your child needs to hear this over and over again.
- Encourage them to share their thoughts, desires, and hopes.
- Help your child to understand that it is the responsibility of the whole family to resolve conflict, disagreements, and problems.
- Help your child to know that his or her presence in your family and world is essential.
The Dutiful Types
1. Type 1: The Reformer
Your Type 1 child has a strong desire to do good in the world and do the right thing. Your child will try hard to please you but they will be hard on themselves.
As your child gets older, self-criticism will emerge as criticism towards you. Try to hear this as your child’s way of loving you.
How might you parent a Type 1?
- Help your child to learn that it is okay not to get everything right. We often learn through trial and error.
- Take your child seriously. Your son or daughter has much to contribute to the life of your family.
- Honor your child when they give generously of themselves to make the world a better place.
- Help your child to learn self-compassion through modeling it yourself.
2. Type 2: The Helper
The young Type 2 in your life wants to be loved and accepted for who they are. They have the natural ability to help people and will sometimes struggle to take care of themselves.
Encourage your child to let you know of anything that is not right in their lives. Take time to notice their well-being through their emotions and body language.
How might you parent a Type 2?
- Complement them when they do something kind.
- Help them to create a daily routine that includes self-care. For a child, that means making sure there is time to play.
- Please pay attention to your child's body language to see what is going on in their heart.
- Do your best to make sure they feel loved for being who they are.
3. Type 6: The Loyalist
The young Type 6 is concerned for the safety of all in your family. Help them discover their inner courage and identify the wisdom that is within them.
Your child appreciates structure in their lives because it helps them feel more secure. Help them to know the difference between fear and anxiety.
Fear is the realization that you are in the midst of danger. Anxiety is the fear that something terrible might happen in the future.
How do you parent a Type 6?
- Honor your child's needs for safety, security, and structure.
- Help your child discover their inner strength. Use teachable moments to show your child that they have more courage and abilities than they realize.
- If you notice that fear and anxiety are getting in the way of their lives, don’t be afraid to get professional help.
- Honor your child's desire to spend with you. Your willingness to share your time with them help them to realize that you value them.
Your child will push your buttons and they will find ways to connect you with your fears and insecurities.
If you are not healthy, you might react negatively, hurting your relationship with your child. Being healthy will be able to move beyond your personality type into building a healthy relationship with your child.
Your child has all 9 types in them, just like you do. You don’t even need to know your child’s personality type to benefit from the Enneagram.
Parenting with the Enneagram can help you make sense of all your and your child's behaviors, so you'll have the tools to try various parenting styles. This way, you can better connect with your child at a deeper level and meet their needs more fully.
Most importantly, you need to work on yourself. The healthier you can be in your own Enneagram personality type, the more you can be present for your child and learn how to be the good parent you want to be.
The good news is that we are far more than our personality types, which simply show us where we get stuck under stress.
And the Enneagram provides us with a map to discover our unique and the vital calling to be our best selves.
Roland Legge can help you to be a better parent. Learn more about his Fall 2018 Workshops, or reach him by email.